Jetstar dispatched its flight dispatchers yesterday with a month’s notice, sending their jobs to a service provider in Manila.

The airline has run away from public comment in time for a Crikey deadline.

Dispatcher duties vary considerably between airlines and countries.

At Jetstar they pull together relevant information about winds, storms, conditions at different altitudes, and the ground delays being experienced at the airports at either end of a scheduled flight, and then compile a flight plan.

Simple really. Nothing to it.

Having all this done for a fraction of the money using the miracle of modern communications, by people who will clearly have an intimate understanding of Australian meteorology, airports and flight corridors and be fully conversant with the Australian vernacular in English means this should be of no concern to Jetstar travellers whatsoever.

But there is a micro and macro scale to the news of more of the Qantas group being sent abroad.

On the micro scale this is just the painful destruction of a handful of jobs.

It saves Jetstar money.  It’s just like outsourcing call centre work. Everyone does it. Although not often with 177-seat intercity projectiles.

On the macro scale, this development is several things. It is part of the process of the alienation of Qantas, in that Qantas transfers assets and routes to Jetstar, which in turn shifts as much of its activity as it can offshore, avoiding the intent of the Qantas Sale Act, which was framed 11 years before to a panic-stricken Qantas board inventing Jetstar as a low-cost subsidiary in 2003 in order to kill Virgin  Blue.

Which worked a treat.

Of course, Qantas has also off-shored part of its costs in maintenance and distribution.

Which is on the macro scale, part of an even bigger story about the Australian and other leading Western economies, in which the ability to make things, or even provide services, is constantly exported, removing in large and small increments the capacity to create wealth, while generating ever larger demands for credit.

Peter Fray

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